Brit family mysteriously found dead on hike died from hyperthermia, police say

The cause of death of a Brit family who were found dead alongside their dog on a hiking trail has been revealed by authorities.

John Gerrish, Ellen Chung, and their one-year-old daughter Miju were mysteriously found dead beside eight-year-old family pet Oski, in the Sierra National Forest back in August.

The family, who moved to California, were discovered in the Devil's Gulch section of the Hites Cove Trail on August 17, only one day after they were reported missing by their nanny.

In a press conference on Thursday, the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office confirmed the family died of hyperthermia and probably dehydration, with their pup dying from a heat-related death.

Sheriff Jeremy Briese said it was a "rare" tragedy.

He told reporters: "This is the first hyperthermia cause of death that I've witnessed here in 20 years."

After the family was found, authorities attempted to determine their causes of death and even looked into concerns over toxic algae in a nearby river.

Blue-green algae, known as being toxic and harmful, grows in warm, slow-moving, and nutrient-filled waters, reports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If ingested or swam in, the toxic algae can cause sickness or death in humans and animals.

However, during the latest police conference, cops said they don't believe the family ingested the water in the area.

One water bottle and a bottle of formula were found near the site.

The liquid inside was tested and came back with no toxins and appeared to be clean or tap water, police added.

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A statement from the family was read out later: "The loss of a close relative is pain almost beyond words. When that loss is multiplied by four, and one of those losses is a baby, that pain is indescribable."

The family went on to explain that "the lack of knowledge and certainty as reasons for the death" led them to frequently question the circumstances of the death for "all of the days and all of the nights."

"Our hearts will never forget the beautiful lives of John, Ellen, Miju and of course, Oski," the statement finished. "They will remain with us wherever we are and whatever we do."

Officials said Gerrish was found in a seated position with baby Miju and Oski near him, according to The Washington Post.

Chung was found dead away from the family up a hill, they reported.

There were no signs of physical wounds or signs of trauma on their bodies, leading investigators to rule out exposure to chemicals and the use of a gun or other deadly weapons as a potential cause of death.

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Authorities also later ruled out six more potential causes of death, including suicide, lightning strike, exposure to carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, or cyanide, and illegal drugs and alcohol.

Gerrish, a British Snapchat engineer at Silicon Valley, began working from home after the family made the move from San Francisco to Central California during the pandemic, according to a family friend.

Steve Jeffe said they wished to raise Miju away from a major city and swapped the bustle of San Francisco for nature.

Chung worked as a yoga instructor before becoming pregnant with the couple's daughter.

"We're all just devastated," Jeff told the outlet. "They were really beloved by the people. A super generous, sweet and loving couple that was devoted to their daughter."

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